Electricity and gas services are essential utilities in most workplaces. It is likely that many of us use electricity and gas appliances without much thought, assuming they are well kept and safe to use.
However, the chance for injury in commercial premises is significant if the right precautions are not taken. Paine Manwaring works with businesses to ensure all utilities are safe and fit for use. What actions should you be taking to keep your employees safe and your company within the law?
Safety when using electricity in the workplace is covered by the Electricity at Work Regulations (1989). The law requires that all electrical equipment should be maintained to a safe condition. The regulations are relatively vague, as they do not state what should be done, by whom and when. However, you will face liability if you have not taken reasonable care to manage the upkeep of any electrical equipment that could cause injury.
In short, you should assess the risk posed by the equipment in your workplace and take essential maintenance measures.
BS 7671 does require that the wiring in commercial premises be inspected every five years. An inspection will involve an electrician visualising all wiring on site and checking for potential dangers.
PAT testing should be undertaken, but the frequency of this is dictated by the type of equipment and the environment in which you work. The HSE offers some guidance for maintaining portable electrical equipment to help business owners. PAT stands for Portable Appliance Testing and requires a visual examination, looking for defects that could cause danger to the user. You will need someone trained in using the equipment for testing the flow of electricity through the appliance.
The regulations around the use of gas in the workplace is covered by the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations (1998). This law requires employers to ensure that gas appliances, flues, pipe work and safety devices are maintained regularly and in a safe condition for use. You are required to hire a qualified and competent person to inspect and maintain your equipment as per the manufacturer’s recommendations. It is likely that annual inspections will be required by most appliance manufacturers.
Not only will regular inspections and maintenance of your gas items ensure the safety of your workers, it will also ensure they work effectively and efficiently. A regular inspection and maintenance cycle can save you time and money in the long run.
If work is required on a gas appliance, you will need to hire someone who is registered as Gas Safe. If the plumber/ engineer is not registered as Gas Safe, they will be breaking the law by undertaking the work and you will be putting your workforce at risk. When hiring someone to work on your appliances, boilers, hobs, fires or ovens, it is your responsibility to ensure they are appropriately qualified.
Here to help
Paine Manwaring offers inspection and maintenance of gas and electrical equipment in the workplace. Our engineers are registered as Gas Safe. Contact us today to learn more about how we can keep your workers safe in your premises.